Journal Entry One
In which we are tossed into a high-speed blender...
Let's talk about the Great Deconstruction Migration. Lately, I've been doing some reading on the topic and I have to say that first, I'm amazed that this has become a "thing." Second, after reading so many accounts of individual journeys, both horrifying and wonderful, I realized that our journey of change (notice I call it change) was and continues to be miraculous, and here's why I think that.
What I have not encountered in my reading is an example of an entire community deconstructing together as a group, from elders to leaders to congregants. I am astonished that this body of people was able to move from a comfortable conservative evangelical identity that embraced a "bounded set" mentality to one that now sees itself as an inclusive "centered set" and, as if that weren't enough, we have become what most would label a very liberal church. (I'll explain more about bounded and centered sets in later blogs, and you can read about it here [link]).
Whenever I finish reading a book on deconstruction I sit back in awestruck wonder, asking, “How did we do it? How did we get here? What happened?” I’m so surprised and grateful that we’re here, and I'm trying to puzzle out how it occurred. How in the world did we get here?
To help answer that question, I plan to record some of my thoughts about our story here in From Where I Sit. Also, I'm confident that CCF's story has miraculous aspect to it, but it has also been an agonizing journey of deep painstaking change, a harrowing journey of letting go of my ego and allowing people to leave when I didn’t want them to. And it’s been a thrilling and rewarding journey of new-found freedom and moving closer to maturity.
On top of all this, my adventure has proven my need for daily quiet time of listening, so that in those dark days of disheartening discoveries I could continue on the path that I intuitively knew was there. I could see only about a foot in front of me- the future obscured by brambles of questions, tree stumps of confusion and deceptive rocks I thought were Truths, along with no end of storms crackling with the lightning and thunder of criticism from inside and outside. With congregants leaving, relationships breaking, accusations of heresy and that I was driving the church into the ground, financial difficulties caused by our decisions, and resignations from respected leaders I couldn’t help but wonder if I was on the right path. Was I really the awful heretic that others believed me to be?
It’s been 8 years since the first seeds of radical change were planted. Actually, it’s been 8 years since a tragedy struck that threw so many of our lives into a blender with the high speed button pressed, which caused us to begin to question everything.
It triggered questioning our identity as a community, what we believed, why bad things happen, where God had gone. We cross-examined life, happiness and goodness along with the injustice of it all, and the trite answers in the face of tragedy. Friends forgot us so quickly after we were thrown into that blender. For them, the sun continued to shine, birds kept on singing, and life moved on while many of us still swirled in that damned high speed blender.
But we’re still here. Somehow… somehow, we’re still here. Miraculously, we’re still here.
Beautifully, we’re still here. I don’t know how long this community will last, but today we’re here, and I love who we’ve become. We’re still beginners on this journey, but I think it’s time to tell my story. It’s time to tell our story. In future installments, this blog will also feature some of the voices of those who have traveled with me, voices that were also spun and twisted in that high speed blender. Looking back, it now appears that being thoroughly whipped and churned produced a wonderful mixture that can now be poured out as a drink offering, uniquely different from any other one. If I might say so, I think we taste pretty delicious now. I hope you’ll join me as I begin this process of remembering.